This Dramatic 7600-Square-Foot Illinois Home Has Us Short of Breath
When it comes to interior design, there's nothing that compares to having a blank canvas to work with. Though the prospect of endless possibilities presents a daunting challenge, it's a designer's dream. It might be hard to believe, but a blank canvas is precisely what Jennie Bishop started with when designing this stunning 7600-square-foot home in the northern suburbs of Chicago. A principal designer at Studio Gild, a bicoastal design firm based in both Chicago and Los Angeles, Bishop was tasked with creating an inviting yet sophisticated home for a growing family—and she was more than up for the job.
The overarching goal was "to create a comfortable, sprawling home for a growing family that was functional and practical, but that would also knock the socks off all party guests who entered the home," Bishop told MyDomaine. Nestled in the ravine area of Highland Park, the home boasts a staggering five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two powder rooms, a family room, a living room, and a family den. Despite its size, every room in the home is more beautiful than the last. "What [I] love about this house is that any room you are standing in at that moment immediately becomes your favourite room—and then it changes the minute you enter the next room," says the designer. Frankly, we couldn't agree more.
Keep scrolling to step inside the prodigious Illinois family home that took our editors' breath away. From the stunning marble kitchen to the dark and sultry master bedroom, this jaw-droppingly beautiful home is sure to elicit audible gasps.
"Massive glass doors and windows are the architectural introduction to the house, so we knew we wanted a shocking, colorful moment in the foyer to contrast the starkness of the exterior," divulges Bishop. "Gabriel Scott's Harlow chandelier and Lee Jofa's sari silk rug in deep, saturated purples, pinks, and black were the starting points, which led us to keep the furniture subtle yet interesting," says the designer. "The piece that brought the entire space together was a stunning, oversize work by Edward Lipsky in a similar tone of intense pink."
Although pickled French oak flooring is installed throughout the house, an oversize chevron pattern in the stair hall pulls your attention toward the back of the house and the reflection pond, explains Bishop. "The architecture is dramatic yet minimal, and the stair is a focal element anchoring the formal side of the house to the casual side and then up to the family spaces on the upper floors," she elaborates. "Apparatus's custom Lariat chandelier provided the perfect light and makes the interior shine onto the backyard."
In the dining room, finding a 15-foot-long table that wouldn't overwhelm the space was a challenge, confesses Bishop. "We were lucky enough to commission Hubbard Design Group's Aranha dining table and were especially lucky to find gorgeous marble slabs of Nero Marquina for the table top," she explains. "The marriage of these two pieces allowed us to maintain a slender form to show off the gracefully delicate yet incredibly robust metal supports," she adds. "We kept the dining chairs monochromatic so that the dining table could take center stage."
The designer kept it light, clean and functional in the kitchen—but with a touch of drama. "The client knew they would spend most of their time on this casual side of the main floor, so they wanted an 18-foot-long island and seating for six," says Bishop. "One of our biggest challenges for this space was finding the right amount of perfect book-matched marble slabs, and Aria Stone Gallery came to our rescue with Calacatta Gold Borghini Extra marble," she adds. "The book-matched slabs are topped with a custom brass hood that's as tall as a person (no big deal!)."
"We played with a little more pattern in the breakfast area with an elm-topped table and deep pinot leather chairs for durability," explains Bishop of the inviting nook. "The banquette is indestructible with its wipeable fabrics, yet it still has an edgy attitude."
Boasting a bold color palette, the living room is proof that high-contrast eclecticism is a décor trend that's here to stay. "We let the black, navy, piercing teal, and ivory colors do all the heavy lifting in the living room," explains Bishop. "Nothing else was needed but low-slung, pretty shapes," she adds. "Each piece could have stood on its own, yet when paired together, it assembled nicely for a spacious gathering in the adults-only section of the house."
The scotch room marks a departure from the gallery-white of the rest of the house, the designer tells MyDomaine. "As you step down the shallow steps and enter the space, you're enveloped in Flat Vernacular's To and Fro wallpaper, which is a piece of artwork on its own," she explains of the space's color scheme.
The space—which doubles as a sports room and a cozy movie room—features a luxurious, loungey sofa, explains Bishop. "A custom tufted sofa in deep, dark green Kerry Joyce velvet gives seating for six the ability to watch up to four (!) games on TV," says the interior designer. "We balanced the dark elements with an Oscar Isberian hide rug in a tone to match the floor."
Though the formal powder room is tucked away just steps from the foyer, it's no less dramatic than the rest of the stunning home. "With 12-foot high ceilings, bringing human scale to the space was a challenge," the designer tells MyDomaine. "Never ones to miss a dramatic wallpaper opportunity, we wrapped the room in Phillip Jeffries Gilded Age wallpaper," she explains. "A Nero Portoro custom marble sink paired with Bec Britian's Shy Sconces then bring the focus to the right level. But if you want to gaze all the way up, a custom light fixture traces along the high ceiling to keep you dreaming."
"For the family room, the client had one demand: the biggest, comfiest, loungy-est sofa," divulges Bishop. "Upholstered in a durable white fabric by Bruno Triplet for Sahco, the sofa keeps the family room palette light but is then grounded with a custom leather-wrapped coffee table and a custom gradient rug from 1019 Looms via Lucid Collections in Chicago."
Outfitted with a cozy sofa, the family den is the ideal space for lounging, reading, or working on homework. "Vast windows frame the ravine outside, creating natural artwork against the crisp, white sofa," says Bishop.
The master bathroom posed yet another marble design challenge for Bishop and the Studio Gild team. "Let us just say, finding a dozen (plus!) marble slabs is not an easy task—but in the end, it was worth every minute spent, and our final vision was realized with Marmo Stone," the designer reveals. "A lazy soaking tub is perched in front of floor-to-ceiling windows and an antique mirror marks the centerline of an extruded vanity cabinet to keep his and her sides nicely designated, complete with Dornbracht fittings."
"If the daughter's bedroom was all about the color pink, the son's bedroom was all about cars," exclaims Bishop. "A racecar crash wallpaper, by Flat Vernacular, was the pièce de résistance paired with a rigid black-and-white checkered wallpaper by Erica Wakerly," she adds.
Though the son and daughter's rooms embraced the kid's respective genders, the direction for the nursery was decidedly gender-neutral, Bishop tells MyDomaine. "Cool whites, the softest rug known to man, natural oak, lucite, and a custom smoky-hued acrylic light fixture are guaranteed to bring sweet dreams to any little one fortunate to sleep here," says the designer.
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